The New Shul

Parshat Shoftim

In this week’s parashah, Shoftim, Moshe warns us that“bribery blinds the eyes of the wise.” Narrow personal interests make it impossible to see the bigger picture, to get a true view of reality.

Moshe’s warning applies not only to cases of actual bribery, but to all the ways in which  “motivated reasoning” distorts our thinking. Instead of  weighing all the evidence, we often start with a conclusion dictated by our own interests, and then construct arguments to support it.

But implicit in Moshe’s warning, there is good news as well, which the S’fat Emet highlighted. If self-centeredness blinds us to the bigger picture, it must mean that, were it not for our self-centeredness, we would have the ability to see that picture. To the extent that we can rise above our narrow interests, we can see the world from something like God’s point of view.

Shabbat helps us to do that. It is a day of renewed perspective. On Shabbat, we step back from the narrow concerns that preoccupy us during the week, and try to see the world from a higher vantage point. Shabbat challenges us to remember what our lives are ultimately for. It is a day of vision.

May this Shabbat, and every Shabbat, help to keep our eyes more open.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat services are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. The kiddush-lunch this Shabbat, September 10, is sponsored by Chuck Mayper in observance of the 15th anniversary of  9/11 and in honor of Patriot Day this Sunday
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.
  • Weekday minyanim at The New Shul are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, Monday evenings at 7 pm, Wednesday mornings at 7 am and Wednesday evenings at 7 pm.
  • On Shabbat morning, September 24, we will celebrate the bat mitzvah of Shelly Pertsovsky.
  • Join us for our S’lihot service on Saturday night September 24 at 10 pm.
  • Information on The New Shul’s services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available here.